- November 14, 2022 at 12:13 pm #25993
At approximately 11:45 Billy Napier and select players will be meeting with the media.
Follow along for live coverage.
- November 14, 2022 at 3:02 pm #26005
Transcript courtesy ASAP
BILLY NAPIER: Very proud of the leadership and the ownership that we saw last week amongst the staff and the players. By far the most complete game that we’ve played, and I think it’s a direct reflection of applied leadership. I think amongst the staff and players people did a really good job in their position, in particular, all the people they directly affect. I thought that was the reason that we played well.
So great week of work last week from an energy and urgency standpoint. I do think we started fast in the game, which was a focal point. We controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, controlled the edges. We were the most physical team. And we felt like that, combined with turnover margin, would be critical.
A few plays on special teams we need to detail up and coach better, but outside of that, six quarters in a row here we’ve shut the opponent out. We’re playing better on defense situationally. The coverage and the rush is working together better.
Offensively, outside the last possession of the game, I think that’s the fourth game in a row we haven’t turned the ball over.
A few issues in the red area on offense that we need to improve at, but a good day for the Gators. I think it’s good to see a group work hard because they really care about a group of seniors and they want that group to have a great memory for Senior Day.
I thought last week from a military appreciation, saluting those who serve, first responders was very positive, and we’re thankful to the people who contributed to that.
We’re right in the middle of the Vanderbilt prep. This is a group that continues to get better. There’s no question year one to year two Clark’s done a great job. You can see the improvement within this season. They’ve got some young players that continue to get better. Got their first SEC win in a while, and there’s some momentum that we’ll have to deal with that goes with that.
So tough place to play. A lot of challenges when it comes to going on the road here to win a game. What questions do we got?
Q. One of the challenges would obviously be the weather. It will be the 20s when you guys are playing. What will be some challenges with that and another 11:00 a.m. kick?
BILLY NAPIER: We don’t control the weather, so we’ll do our best in regards to that. Can’t have an opinion on it because we don’t control it. We’ll show up and play. Whatever the conditions are, they are.
Q. Did you learn anything from that A&M trip, just maybe starting out a little slower than you wanted to with an 11:00 a.m. local kick? Maybe something you’ll do a little differently on the road?
BILLY NAPIER: You’re spot on. We quality controlled that trip. We are going to do a few things differently, from a time allocation standpoint, what we do — I think it’s important in the beginning of the week. I think the sleep habits of the players and staff throughout the week will be important.
I think, as you approach Thursday night, Friday night, kind of making sure that we make adjustments there. Parts of our team started fast, but the other parts didn’t. So I think consistency as a whole trying to keep some of this momentum.
The things that we learned worked Saturday. Hopefully we can apply those.
Q. Somebody who finishes fast or strongly has been Montrell. What is it about a running back who’s able to just get stronger as the game goes? I forgot you were on the same staff as Derrick Henry. He’s a little bit different physical stature, but what is it about a guy that can do that?
BILLY NAPIER: I think that’s a heck of a question. That is definitely true, and those players will tell you that they get more comfortable with more carries.
I think Montrell is a 215, 220-pound back. He’s 5’11-1/2″. He’s not a burner. He’s 21 1/2 miles an hour, I think he hit full gear the other day, which is good.
He’s got really good instincts and vision. I think he anticipates contact. He’s got really good contact balance. I think Montrell Johnson is effective because he’s a great person. This guy is a very disciplined guy. He’s got character. He’s very smart. He’s one of the best practice players that we have, and he’s in year two of his career.
Last year he kind of got a feel for it. This is year two, but it’s a different level of competition. So I think he’s getting more comfortable, and I’m glad we got him.
Q. Is there a common thread, though? You were saying that’s a good question, but if you had to guess. You’ve been around the game a long time.
BILLY NAPIER: I think a bigger guy probably fits into that mold, if I was betting. Then you’ve got to play on a team where they’ll hand you it enough times, right?
You know, Derrick Henry, that’s the freakiest football player I’ve ever been around, hands down. That guy is in a very unique work ethic. I’ve watched that guy come off the field on Tuesday practice and get in the squat rack and just go for another hour. I mean, he was — and he still works that way. He’s still doing it. So I think he’s one in a million, very unique player.
Q. Billy, you used the word momentum about three or four times already. Are you seeing momentum in practice as well as — we see it on the field. Are you seeing that kind of momentum in practice as well?
BILLY NAPIER: Yes, I think every part of our routine we’re improving at: Self-discipline, the follow through with all the parts of running, lifting, recovery, training room, meetings, walk throughs, practice habits.
And it’s not just players, right? You’ve got to remember that all these people are refining what they do. So there’s no question that that momentum part, it applies to every single part of what we do.
Q. From a standpoint of getting a team ready for an opponent that you’re favored over, how happy were you to see the result of the Vandy-Kentucky game?
BILLY NAPIER: I mean, I don’t — those are outside, those are external things. We’d like to think we’re motivated by other things. There’s a human nature element to this, though.
There’s no question that Vanderbilt will be different as a result of winning the game. I think that’s a reality. So we’ll have to combat some of the positive things that come with them winning the game.
I think it’s healthy, but I do think we have work to do, right? We have things that we’re specifically focused on here relative to our team.
Q. You talked about how it’s the most complete game you played because of applied leadership. What do you mean by that, and how do you see that?
BILLY NAPIER: Yes, I see an intentional approach from players to be vocal about things that need to be addressed, things that need to be said. I just see more vocal — and I’m talking across the board. I’m talking about doing extra. I’m talking about accountability. I’m talking about being intentional about connecting with your teammates.
Just across the board, I think just a little bit different level of accountability and being intentional about doing acts of leadership, right? I think you’ve got to — and I think our staff is helping in that regard.
Q. How do you coach ownership like that, taking ownership?
BILLY NAPIER: I think you give them opportunities. Really believe in that part, right? You assign responsibility. You empower. I think there’s a fine line in there between forcing something and then creating an opportunity. Praising — I think the big thing is you praise what you see being done well. I think we want to promote the behaviors that we’re looking for.
I think that incrementally over time, that becomes the expectation. So I think we’ve got more good going on in those areas.
Q. Can a coach influence which players the other players listen to, or is that something the players have to figure out for themselves?
BILLY NAPIER: That right there is a book in itself. I do think that’s always a juggling act. One of the key components of a team that involves so many people is learning who has influence, who has a voice.
Then I do think that that person’s example is probably the most impactful part. If that person has influence, if that person has a voice, if they have an ability to affect other people, their words and actions matching up, their consistency in their approach, their character not being compromised maybe by saying something that’s out of line or doing something that goes against maybe what you’re trying to create, I think that’s probably the most important thing.
I think that’s where our issues have been in the past, and that’s what we’re trying to correct and get back on the right path.
Q. It seems like there’s a lot more kind of a gang tackling effort, guys at the ball. How much of that is an effort thing, and how much of that is maybe guys getting comfortable with the system too?
BILLY NAPIER: I think there’s a little bit of both, but I do think you’re spot on. I think the pursuit is better, the energy is better.
I really believe this. It’s year one in a new system, but information, knowledge, when applied, can make a difference. So if I’m processing quicker, if I’m communicating better, if I’m anticipating, I get more production, and there’s a compound effect. If each individual’s doing that, I think there is a result that comes with that.
So I think we’ve got a group — also, we haven’t been very good. So I think there’s a little bit of a pride element there, and I think we’ve gotten good leadership on that side of the ball within each room, coaching and players being more vocal about the things they know can be done better.
Q. How do you carry that over with Wright, who’s a more dangerous runner?
BILLY NAPIER: That’s one of the things that’s tough about Vanderbilt is the uniqueness of him as a player. So that will be part of the strategy within the game.
Q. You mentioned keeping it technical. Is there something — and this is not just an Anthony Richardson question. Is there something in season you can do to help a quarterback’s accuracy, or is that a high rep, high volume off-season type of thing?
BILLY NAPIER: I think being accurate is physical and mental, if that makes sense. I think there’s so much that happens in a very small amount of time relative to declaring where I’m going with the ball from the ground up, everything being synchronized, starting between the ears, and then fundamentally from the feet all the way to the ball coming out of your hand.
So I think it’s mental and physical, and that’s why it’s the most challenging thing to do in all of sports. But I think it’s a good question.
Q. Is there a completion percentage threshold you’d like for him to hit? Do you have like a number? I realize it varies by pro.
BILLY NAPIER: QBR is really where we — 145-plus is the number we kind of hang our hat on. A lot of things affect that, right? Completion percentage being one of those, but ultimately a heavy factor in that is touchdown-to-interception ratio as well. Explosive plays influence that number. So I think overall —
Q. How many times has he hit it?
BILLY NAPIER: That’s a good question. I don’t know that right off the top of my head.
Q. We know about Ventrell as a leader. Would you talk about some of these other leaders you had talked about before, the guys who have the ears of the younger guys? 75 percent of your team is sophomores and below.
BILLY NAPIER: I think that Rashad Torrence is a leader. I think he’s a very smart football player. He’s got great command of the system. His ability to communicate, I think because of his knowledge and his instincts in production, he has influence.
He’s a guy that does a great job in the back end. He’s a fantastic practice player, probably the best communicator that we have, and does a great job kind of helping everybody around him play better.
Amari Burney is an influential person, very experienced player. The guy’s got a good heart. He’s got character. If you don’t like Burney, something’s wrong with you. He’s a good human being and works really hard and a guy that has — he’s kind of the old grandpa, if that makes sense. He’s the old uncle. He’s been around. He’s seen a lot. I think he sees the big picture.
Gervon Dexter is a young man, I think, who’s growing in that role. He’s getting comfortable with his voice.
I do think my man A.P., Powell has some influence. I think he’s a guy that is capable in that area. I’m just thinking about defense in particular because that’s the area we’ve grown the most.
Offensively, there are parts of our team — Anthony Richardson, I think, is really emerging as a guy who’s developing that skill set as a leader. He’s getting more comfortable in his role. Speaking with clarity, speaking with conviction, being intentional about what he’s saying, why he’s saying it, taking time to think about our team and what they need to hear and what he can bring to the table. So I think that growth has been impactful for our team.
Q. A little 30,000-foot view here. You mentioned Vanderbilt showing progress under Clark Lea. Obviously there’s varying degrees of turnarounds going on in the SEC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State a little bit. Is there a couple of things, one and two, that are absolutely necessary to getting that started?
BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, I think the big thing is at the player level. At some point you’ve got to have a nucleus of players that say we’re going to do this. There’s a conviction about — there’s a connection between the staff and the organization and the philosophy, the resources, the commitment, the process, whatever’s being taught, whatever’s being implemented.
But I think I go back to number one on the list is that there’s a sincere approach. There’s a care for the player more than just football. There’s a plan for who they are as people from a long, long game. There is an investment in their character. There is a prioritizing their education.
I think that equipping them, educating them, creating experiences for them, and then ultimately if you have that sincere approach and they really believe that you care about them and there is a plan for those areas, then you’ve got to know what you’re talking about. There’s got to be a competency relative to, yeah, this guy cares and he can help me play better because ultimately, you can’t have one and not have the other.
At some point it’s, hey, I like you, but you can’t help me. Or you can help me, but, man, you don’t care about me. So I think that trust is a big part of that, but those are two things in particular I think matter.
Q. You mentioned the red zone offense. What do you feel have been some of the recent issues, and what do they need to do to improve?
BILLY NAPIER: Saturday in particular, the last couple weeks it’s been penalties. We had procedure penalties, had a handful of mental errors. Nothing to do with the opponent, which is the frustrating part.
Those are all things we can coach better. Those are all things I think we can help the players with.
Q. When you get in a goal line situation, after seeing what we saw Saturday from Desmond Watson, is there a consideration?
BILLY NAPIER: Always have a running deal with the defensive players. If we’re top ten in the country in scoring defense and total defense, we’ll put defensive players on the goal line package. Hopeful that day’s coming.
- November 14, 2022 at 3:03 pm #26006
Transcript courtesy ASAP
A transcript with: Anthony Richardson
127151-1-1182 2022-11-14 18:13:00 GMT
University of Florida Football Media Conference
Monday, November 14, 2022
Gainesville, Florida, USA
Q. Obviously being able to come off what coach called your most complete game, how you guys want to carry that to this week and get ready for two road trips?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Whenever you’re doing something good, you want to keep it going. We also messed up a little bit in that game, penalties and stuff. We don’t want that, especially in the red zone. So we’re going to try to improve on that but keep the same intensity and the same effort that we had last week.
Q. Montrell’s performance, what you’ve seen from him and just the way he’s kind of been carrying the load at running back.
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I’ve been talking about that performance like two, three days now. I was talking to him yesterday about it. Bro, you went crazy. Man, that’s just nuts. Bro, 160 in the game, that’s tough.
But just having him in the backfield is a blessing, him and Trevor. They do their thing. They make it easier for us to move the ball and score on offense. So I’m thankful for those guys.
Q. Why does he seem to get stronger as the game — I was asking Billy about it. He seems to be one of those backs that gets stronger as the game goes.
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I think most people like to get hit first and see what the defense is going to bring. If it’s too soft, he’s going to bring that thunder to them. I feel like that’s what he does every game.
Q. Do you notice that, though, he seems to get stronger as the game goes?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I think he’s stronger the whole game, just breaking tackles. He’s just doing him.
Q. Being from Florida, have you ever played in sub-33 weather before?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I don’t think so. I know I played in some cold games. It wouldn’t be cold to a lot of people, but to me it’s definitely cold. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited to see how I perform in it.
Q. How do you decide what to wear?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Just stay warm. That’s the main goal right there and try not to get in your own head about it.
Q. You grew up in Florida. Now what’s cold to you?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: If the wind’s blowing too much, that’s cold. If it’s 65, that’s kind of cold. It really depends.
Q. Do you think if it requires more than a sweater?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Definitely. If I got to throw on some slacks, it’s cold.
Q. Anthony, how do you feel like you’ve improved this year? What areas have you made the most strides since you started the season?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Just being a leader. Keeping the team going, keeping the team rolling. I’ve improved with that a lot.
That’s pretty much been our mission lately kind of, just me speaking up and being vocal and leading by example. I feel like that’s the main thing I’ve improved on.
Q. How have players responded since you’ve started to take steps toward being a better leader?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Surprisingly, other people started speaking up. They realize they have a voice as well, and we started playing for each other because of the leadership we do have on the team. I’m thankful for it.
I’m glad I got the opportunity to do it, and I’m glad other guys are stepping up and doing it.
Q. When did you get comfortable getting up and talking? Gradual process, or was there one time you got up and said that felt right?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It’s definitely been a gradual process for me because I haven’t always been a vocal guy, a guy who likes to talk a lot, but Coach Napier, he pushes me all the time to step out of my comfort zone.
A few weeks ago, I finally did it, and it felt good to express myself and have the team listen to me and have other guys relate to how I was feeling. It feels good to do it, and I’m going to try to continue to do it.
Q. The last few weeks the defense has been playing, how much extra confidence has that given you, especially everyone around you too?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It makes it easier for us. They’re not letting people score, and we’re putting up some points. It makes it easier for us to win the game. I’m glad those guys are getting it rolling.
Q. What’s the gist of what you said to the team when you spoke out?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I just told them, don’t take opportunities for granted because not a lot of people get the opportunity that we get. We’re blessed enough and fortunate enough to play here in the SEC. Just to play college ball, period. A lot of people want to be in our shoes.
I told them that we’re part of the percentage of people that made it to this point and this opportunity. So don’t take it for granted and just have fun with it.
Q. When you had that moment, is there something that went off in your head that said these guys are going to listen to me if I talk?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I feel like something did go off. Just like watching and seeing guys, sometimes we would just go through the motions if there’s a walk through. We know the plays and stuff, so we’re just going to do this, instead of being intentional. I felt like we were just getting complacent because we’re here at the University of Florida.
So I just decided to step up and talk to the guys, and a lot of people related to it. We flipped the switch, I guess.
Q. Are you a yeller and screamer, or are you just grab them by a face mask? What’s your approach?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It depends on the mood and what needs to be done, but I’m not most of the time a yeller, but if I have to yell, I’ll do it.
Q. Is this after Georgia?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Yeah, it was.
Q. You were with Mike Wright at the Manning Passing Academy. What’s your relationship like with him?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: That guy is hilarious. I’m glad I got to meet him. He’s a cool guy, funny guy. He’s also a pretty good quarterback himself.
So just going to that camp and having the opportunity to meet those guys and to have fun with them, it was definitely a blessing.
Q. What stood out about his game when you were there? Obviously no pads or anything, but was it his arms, legs, anything like that?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Pretty much everything overall. He can definitely run. He’s a fast guy. He can definitely throw it. So just his overall game. Just the person he is, that’s what stood out to me the most.
Q. Are you going to talk any trash to him this week?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Probably not. I don’t talk trash. I don’t really know how to talk trash. That’s not me.
Q. That throw to Ricky the other day, just picture perfect, and then might miss one where he’s wide open. What is the difference on these? Is it your footwork? Is it decision-making? Is it comfort level? Like you made these great throws and then maybe miss a routine one. What happens?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It’s just me forgetting how fast these guys are. Just seeing Ricky come across the field and seeing how fast he can accelerate, I’ve just got to put the ball in a better spot for him. Just understanding that these guys do have real game speed, and I’ve got to put it in the right spot for them.
Q. How much are you picking things up in the read option terms of your running game? It seems like the last three, four weeks you’re kind of finding more holes and you’ve been more assertive in that regard?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I’ve just been feeling more comfortable with zone read because we’ve been having the way the defense rotates and the way the running backs have been running the ball, they’ve got to pick and choose who they want to tackle. If they don’t want to tackle them, they’ve got to tackle me. If they don’t want to tackle me, they’ve got to tackle them. That’s just overall what it’s been.
Q. Billy said that you’re your own biggest critic at times. When you look at your current improvement and what you need to work on, what kind of stands out to you right now of ways, hey, I can improve this and get better at this right now?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Definitely being consistent with accuracy, missing the guys by a yard or two, I’ve always been hard on myself about that. If I want to throw the ball here to their face and I throw it here, I’m going to criticize that.
Coach Nape tells me all the time, you don’t have to be so hard because it was completed. But as a quarterback, you want the ball to go where you want it to go. Being a perfectionist kind of affected that. Just accuracy is pretty much the main thing.
Q. Are you hard on yourself even after a 32-point win at home like this? Do you sit there and look at the incompletions and say, if I hit this, would you feel better about your performance? Are you that kind of guy?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Before, I was like that. But everything happens for a reason. Missing those completions just tells me I got to get better at completing the ball and throwing it better.
I definitely do criticize myself a lot. Even though we did win by 30, we could have put up more points in the red zone, and I take that into account. So I definitely criticize myself.
Q. How proud of yourself are you with the interception streak, like four games without a pick, without a turnover, I don’t think, right?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I’m definitely proud of myself. I know Coach Nape is proud of me as well. We always talk about posting that zero and having no turnovers. That was pretty much one thing we worked on in fall camp. If we threw an interception or if it was close to an interception in practice, it counted, and it went to your interception percentage.
We had a huge competition about that. So I definitely take that into account, and I’m glad I found some rhythm.
Q. You’ve always been a guy who could run away from people. The last couple weeks you’ve been running over people. Which is more satisfying, to outrun them or to maybe run over somebody?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It’s a little bit of both, you know, keeping the defense on their toes and them not knowing what I’m going to do. It kind of feels good because they don’t know whether I’m going to run around them or run through them.
I’m 240, so somebody got to feel this weight.
Q. It feels like the polar opposite when Coach Mullen was here? You guys are running almost 60 percent of the time compared to 40 passing. We’ve seen the benefits for the offense, but how does it benefit you and how does it change how you operate, if it does?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It just helps me manage the game more. When I do pass the ball, I’ve got to be smart with it because I know we’re going to eventually run the ball. It just helps me become a better game manager.
Q. Do you see advantages to it in what’s been an era of a lot of pass happy football across college and really all levels to be able to run the ball as much as you guys do?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I definitely see it. A lot of people like to play deep zone coverages. They light on the ball, so it allows us to penetrate the defense and get the ball moving and rolling. Eventually once they start coming up, hit them with some play action and go over their head. I think it’s an advantage to be able to run the ball.
Q. Anthony, we saw what a celebration it was when big Dez had the fumble the other day. Why are you guys so excited for that?
ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Guys were just having fun, that was the main thing. We were just enjoying what was going on in the field. The defense got a takeaway, so that was another thing.
Just having fun and playing for each other, that was just the main reason we were celebrating. Coach Nape tells us to celebrate with our teammates. He said he would rather us get a flag celebrating than get a flag for something else. We try to have a party on the sideline every time.
- November 14, 2022 at 3:03 pm #26007
Transcript courtesy ASAP
Q. What do you credit the defensive turnaround these last six quarters particularly to?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: Really just, we’re just finally buying in and trusting to what Coach PT is calling, and we’re all just trying to do our job a lot better. We finally, I think like once you see it work once, it’s like okay, it works.
So when he calls it again, do the exact same thing we did last time. I think it’s just we’re just buying in a lot more.
Q. It seems like effort-wise, the energy seems higher. Like the gang tackling, it just looks like more guys are flying to the ball.
GERVON DEXTER SR.: Yeah, we’re practicing that way, and it’s translating to the game. It’s going to the game. We also noticed that, if we practice that way, that’s what will happen to the game.
So we have like in practice, we’ll do like for the D-line, we’ve got an award that’s called get out that stack, and the award is given to the player who pursues to the ball the most in practice, who gets to the ball first in practice, and who’s flying around, even after the play is over, who’s getting out the stack, who’s flying around. That’s shown a lot as well.
Q. Who’s winning?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: So right now I got it the first two weeks, and Chris McClellan got it last week. We’ve been doing it the last three weeks. I’m 2-1.
Q. Professional jealousy that Dez got the fumble and started running with it?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: No, no jealousy. It was a great sight to see. I was really happy for him when I seen him get the ball.
I wish he would have scored it. I would have been a little more happy for him, but it was a great sight to see.
Q. Which is more surprising that he got it or that he has the presence to switch hands and stiff-arm the guy?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: I don’t know. It was a great script, but I think his athleticism for him to be able to switch the ball and stiff-arm him, that probably got it. Yeah, Heisman pose.
Q. How many times did that tackle get showed in the D-line meeting?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: We replayed it a couple times to see. He had a pretty good reason on why he got tackled, I would say, but we showed him. We watched it a couple times.
Q. Did he agree?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: So he say, when he was switching the ball, it started to slide, and he was just wanting to go down with the ball to be able to celebrate with the ball instead of losing the ball. So yeah.
Q. I was curious what he thought.
GERVON DEXTER SR.: Yeah.
Q. How much has the strength in the edge play helped the interior line?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: It helps a lot when you have two edge rushers competing and getting after the quarterback, it sometimes opens a lot of doors for interior D-linemen, and that way the tackle can’t come down on the three technique when he has somebody rushing with all of their ability. So it really helps.
Q. Where have you seen Antwaun and Princely make the most strides the past three weeks with their increased opportunities?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: I think they both got a great first step. They both have the great ability to rush the quarterback, so I think that’s what, as an offensive tackle, you have to see that. You have to game plan for two guys that can rush the quarterback on both sides.
So I think that’s been the main thing that they have been focused on, just rushing the quarterback and putting all their ability into rushing the quarterback.
Q. You guys are tied now with I think Tennessee for most turnovers forced in the SEC. How much pride have you taken on in the defense? How much work has gone into that? How much work do you do each week with the turnover circuits?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: Like I say, we practice that. We have like a tackling circuit, and three of the tackling circuits is just us like punching the ball out, stripping the ball, getting on the ball when a fumble is recovered, stiff-arms and all the stuff like that when we do get a turnover. We practice that a lot. We actually practice that every Wednesday practice.
So that’s just coming from practicing, and we do it every week, and it’s just starting to show up.
Q. How important has it been for the offense to control the ball, because they’ve been running these big drives, take up five, six minutes. How important has that been for the freshness of the defense in the second half?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: It’s been very important for us. All of this stuff we do, we just trust the game plan. Coach, he always says that he wants his defense up first. So when we go up and get the ball, get on defense, we just try to stop the ball and let the offense come to score.
If that’s not the case, we just keep competing, and we just try to — like I say, we just trust the game plan.
Q. What makes Montrell so difficult to bring down?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: When I see — this just is my opinion, but when I watch Montrell, I see a lot of Dameon Pearce in his game. So I think that helps him because he actually can get outside and get out of there or he can run it down the middle. He’s a very strong running back, powerful back. It’s going to take more than one to tackle him often.
So that’s just in my opinion. I see a lot of Dameon Pearce in him as he plays.
Q. How do backs like him seem to get stronger as the game goes on? Is there a common trait in those guys?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: In my opinion, I haven’t played a running back like Montrell yet. The thing that helps us, the Gators, is right after you see Montrell, you have to go against Etienne, so it’s a lot harder. I haven’t played against two backs that can do what those two can do either. I haven’t faced any.
Q. It seems like you guys have been seeing a lot of mobile quarterbacks in the SEC. What about Wright? He’s coming off a game where he rushed for over 100 yards. What have you learned that you can take into this game?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: With running quarterbacks, we try our best to rush thicker, run up the field. We try to contain them. We try our best to rush four, things like that.
Like I say, the biggest thing is not running past him, containing him in the pocket, and getting him when we get to him.
Q. Billy said the team rule this week is you guys can’t talk about the weather?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: He really don’t too much like distractions. So he told us yesterday it was going to be cold, and that was the last thing we needed to say. That was the last thing we were going to talk about that.
Q. Can we ask you about the weather then?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: No, I don’t know about it.
Q. You received a lot of buzz from the NFL Draft knowing that the last home game was this week. Did you give any thought to that like it was your last game in The Swamp?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: I haven’t. I was focused on South Carolina last week and this week. I’m locked in on beating Vandy.
Q. Did it feel good to get to the quarterback, you and Princely together?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: It felt good. I haven’t got to him in a little minute, so I took my anger out on him.
Q. Three and out to start the game. How good does that make you feel about the defense, and how much do you feel that shows how far you guys have come?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: It felt good. Even just wanting to — we played some pretty good ball in Texas A&M. And our goal is to start the game how we ended the game against A&M. I think that’s what we showed and how we played against.
Q. I’m also going to put you on the spot. Have you been able to stay off the Twinkies?
GERVON DEXTER SR.: Yeah, I haven’t ate a Twinkie ever since Miss Kelsey got here. I’ve been off of them.
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